Teachers in Uganda are threatening strike action for a living wage. As is happening in both Kenya and Nigeria, the government has long promised increases which have not been forthcoming.

In the case of Uganda, teachers had been promised a 20% pay rise, but the government failed to budget for it and the money has been withheld. As a result, the Ugandan National Teachers Union has given the government notice that if it fails to fund the increase, they will go on strike from next term.

Other public sector workers say they will support the strike. The leader of the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) told the Ugandan Sunday Monitor: “We are putting the government on notice that come September 14, if the demand by our colleagues, the teachers, is not met as promised, we shall all join them in their sit-down strike . . . If they (the government) cannot respect an agreement, what else can we entrust them with? This is really a bad sign to our young generation and we ask those responsible to reconsider their position.”

This is only the latest episode in an ongoing struggle for proper education funding and rremuneration of teachers in Uganda. As a Ugandan NGO put it at the time of last year's teachers' strike in the country: "the quality of education in public schools has over the years declined compared to that in private schools something that is attributed to less funding to the schools and poor teacher remunerations. The two day strike will help remind government of its obligations to increase funding in public schools to help the learners there attain a better education when teachers are adequately remunerated." 

Yet the government is still refusing to pay the teachers a wage which allows them to survive, leave alone live well. To read more about the background to this struggle go here.